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Mt.Tsukuba-san (#44 of the 100 Famous Mountains in Japan)

What is one hundred mountains in Japan?:

Tsukuba-san is one of the easiest of the venerable 100 Famous Mountains for Tokyoites to accomplish and is one of the few day hikes that can be approached from the eastern side of the city. It is a very easy hike, possible year-round, without too much preparation - the top and bottom of the mountain are covered with food stalls, cable cars, souvenir shops and restaurants, making it a very popular day trip destination for families and couples. Don't let this put you off because the experience is redeemed thanks to the temples, shrines, forest and a rock garden of peculiarly shaped boulders, combining to make this a worthwhile trip and an insight into Japan.

The history of Tsukuba-san as a holy mountain goes back more than 2,000 years to when the twin-peaks of Nantai-san and Nyotai-san were seen as symbols of male and female ancestral deities. The temple at the foot of the mountain, Tsukuba-san-jinja, has various shrines that worshippers visit to seek aid in matters of marriage, domestic happiness and childbirth. Tsukuba-san is featured in many ancient poems and an old song 'The Snow of Fuji-san, the Purple of Tsukuba', refers to the wild heather that flourishes on the eastern side of the mountain.

Sure, it has beautiful snow, but shining Mt Tsukuba is clothed in purple Basho.
The track just below the eastern peak, Nyotai-san, passes through an area of weirdly shaped granite boulders, each of which has been given a name. The most famous of these rocks en dash the Gama en dash lies between the opeaks. Known as 'Toad Rock'- it resembles a giant toad with its mouth partly open. Apparently, if you can throw a stone that lodges itself in the toad's mouth it will bring you good luck. The rock garden below Nyotai-san comprises ten named formations, some of which are easily recognised by their titles. For example, Daibutsu-iwa is Big Buddha Rock, and Shussen Nyusen is Departing and Arriving Ship Rock. Others such as Purple Cloud Rock, Folding Screen Rock and Mothers Womb are a little more obscure. Most of the stalls on the mountain sell toad oil, a cure-all ointment extracted from the fat of the local toads.

- Lonely planet



Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki